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When Kyle Rearden and I launched The Vonu Podcast in January of this year, we took up the tough task of trying to chronicle Rayo’s ideas and direct action, as well as trying to re-ignite life back into this very unique strategy, with little to no original source material.
In the past few months, our luck has been changing. We acquired VONULIFE, March 1973, a monster of a publication, and just recently acquired a huge batch of publications from the 1960s-1990s, of course not all articles or publications are by Rayo, but still highly valuable in the pursuit of vonu.
The publication you are about to read is titled Vonu: Book 2, Letters from Rayo, and is edited by Jim Stumm, publisher of the now-defunct Living Free publication.
I must caution you, Stumm takes quite a bleak view of wilderness vonu in general, and levels some unfair and inaccurate attacks towards Rayo and the strategy he largely developed. That said, we are obviously extremely thankful for his work in acquiring and publishing this material.
The publication you are about to read is highly unique compared to other vonu issues we have digitized—reason being, this one contains private letters Rayo wrote to various correspondents—we can finally dive deeply into his mind, and let me tell you, it’s quite fascinating. I would speculate that one of the recipients of these letters was Jon Fisher, the editor of his first book, Vonu: The Search for Personal Freedom.
A couple of quick notes before I turn you over to Mr. Stumm and Rayo: first off, this was transcribed exactly as it is in the original publication, with any original errors in grammar or spelling left intact. Any notes/changes/additions made by yours truly will be placed in [brackets]. Any errors beyond that are solely the responsibility of your humble transcriptionist.
Secondly and lastly, I have made the executive decision to move the article, Against Social Reformism, to follow the Programme Notes for Vonu Week (VW) and Vonu Week Results. Reason being, I thought it was best to keep all of the VW material in one place, without a radical shift to philosophy in the middle.
It is our goal and hope that you find this content as valuable as we do. We hope it provides you much inspiration to continue (or begin) learning how to live and let live, out of sight and mind of those unwilling to let live. Laissez-faire.
This is Vonu, Book 2, the follow-up to the first Vonu book which is the volume “Vonu, The Search for Personal Freedom,” published by Loompanics Unltd, POB 1197, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Most of this present volume consists of letters written by Rayo (Tom Marshall) who has been called “the mystery man of the libertarian movement” by LIBERTY Magazine. Tom Marshall wrote under various pen names including Rayo, El Ray, and Tom of Preform. Similarly, his freemate, the woman he lived with, is referred to variously as Roberta, Dr. Naomi Gatherer, the Gatherer, or Haelan.
The letters that make up the greatest part of this volume were previously unpublished until I edited them and published them in my newsletter, LIVING FREE, but we find many ideas in them that were developed in articles Rayo wrote for publication in various newsletters. These letters were not written to me, but rather to a correspondent of Rayo’s who lived on the West Coast. When copies of these letters came into my possession, I decided to share them with Rayo’s admirers after editing out most of the proper names for security.
Also included here are Rayo’s notes concerning Vonu Week which provide deeper insight into his thinking about vonu than any articles he published elsewhere. And we have included material from PACSCRIPT #1, a one-issue newsletter that Rayo wrote and apparently distributed only to a few friends. Rounding out this volume are comments on some of these letters and on vonu topics, written by me and by 4 others, including a memoir of my visit to Oregon in the Fall of 1971 at which time I met Rayo in person for the first and only time.